There are three things that I am looking forward to when I turn eighteen. First, I am going to get my driver’s license. Next, I will be applying for a hunting permit. And finally, I will be registering to vote. In the eyes of political America, most of us will soon be considered adults, and for the most part, will be able to exercise all of our constitutional rights. It took nearly two hundred years for these rights to be extended to all American citizens above eighteen. We should be excited to finally have a say in our government, right? Well, statistics tell us otherwise.
According to data from the 1966 US Census Bureau, roughly 38% of young adults age 18-24 participated in congressional elections. It was around this time that young adults of that age had gained the right to vote, and many of them chose to respect their newly earned right. As the decades continued, the polls revealed fewer voters from that age group. In 2010 the percentage decreased to just under 19%. Almost 20% of the youth population were no longer voting in congressional elections. Although congressional elections are not as esteemed as Presidential elections, these numbers reflect low youth involvement in politics.
Why are the statistics so low? Could it be that students have enough to deal with already? Or perhaps don’t care about politics? If you identify with the latter, I recommend rethinking your mentality. Until this point, we as students have not had the opportunity to greatly influence society. We receive good grades, participate in community service, and lead projects; everything we have accomplished so far has only affected those around us. But now, we have the chance to participate in a collective effort yo make a global impact. We, as growing adults, have the opportunity to elect who sits in office and how our nation is run. In fact, we should especially be concerned with who is President because it will be our futures that will benefit or suffer from their policies. It is now our time to define the future we want to live in.
Many students view voting through a pessimistic lens. Some may have the mentality that, “Oh, I’m just one of millions, one vote shouldn’t change anything,” but if one chooses to never enter the lottery, they can never win the megamillions. Choosing to not vote takes away any opinions that you have in the voting process. One vote is better than none. Further, there are most likely millions of people who share this attitude. There are thirty million 18-24 year olds in the United States. Your say does not seem so small now, huh?
Why should you be interested in voting in this 2016 Election? Well, you should register, it is a quick and simple process that will allow you to participate in an experience much greater than yourself. The voters are the foundation for the American government and our futures depend on the amount of enthusiasm we have about our political system. You can stay informed and it will better help you to understand which politicians stand for what. They say it takes a village to raise a child. Well, it takes us as voters to raise a nation. Make your voice heard.